Making a Holiday Gingerbread House: Your Sweet Expectations Versus the Dysfunctional Reality — PHOTOS

During my first year of college, I lived with an engineering major, and observing the nights she actually slept (zero) and the amount of homework she had (infinite) was enough to convince me that there was not a snowflake's chance in hell that I would ever become an engineer myself. But despite my firm awareness of this, every holiday season something in me snaps, and I suddenly get a little cocky and become convinced that I can get on an engineer's level by building the most amazing gingerbread house of all time. I do this while forgetting, of course, that I have never successfully frosted a graham cracker without cracking it in half and/or staining everything within five feet of me, so as you can imagine my gingerbread houses never quite turn out how I expect them to.

Still, even in the face of these less-than-flawless attempts, we would-be gingerbread engineers remain optimistic. We see that cheerful photo of what the house is supposed to look like on the box and we're so high on the magic of the holiday season that we keep conveniently forgetting that we are mere mortals (unlike who I have to believe are wizards creating the perfect aspirational gingerbread houses in photos) and thus incapable of creating any kind of structure that can independently stand, let alone decorate it. But you know what? Watching your masterpiece fall apart is half the fun (the other half is, obviously, eating it). Just be sure this holiday season that when you endeavor to build a gingerbread house, you are prepared for all of these expectations to fall short of reality.

Expectation: The house will actually stand.

Frosting is basically like glue, right? Also you watched an episode of Martha Stewart once. OK, half an episode. Either way, you're pretty sure you know how this whole thing works.

Reality: All of your imaginary gingerbread people are about to be homeless.

Uh, was this thing insured?

Expectation: All the pieces you bought/baked will match up.

Eh, you'll just eyeball it, it'll be fine. Measuring is for losers.

Reality: You maybe should have invested in a ruler.

Your tiny, imaginary gingerbread family better hope it's a warm, dry winter.

Expectation: Someone will have planned ahead and actually bought ingredients.

Wait, you went to the store and actually got all the stuff we need for this, right? I left a note on the white board.

Reality: Everybody is just as lazy as you.

Why do we even have the white board if you aren't going to look at it, roommate/husband/wife/mom/whoever?? *Drives to grocery store, rage-buys gumdrops*

Expectation: You will possess the patience of a master craftsmen.

Come, young padawans, let me show you the way of the gingerbread house.



Expectation: Everyone will appreciate the masterpiece you have created.

BEHOLD THE GLORY OF THE LAST 7.5 HOURS OF YOUR LIFE. Let us all bask in the beauty of what I have wrought, and then, only after many hours or even days of feasting with our eyes shall we then tenderly consume this immaculate treat with our mouths.

Reality: Nobody has any willpower.

Not even you.

Expectation: Your decorations will be an inspiration to gingerbread house makers everywhere.

And you're totally not planning to be smug about it (at least not for long).

Reality: You are a hot mess and a half.

At least it'll still taste good.

Expectation: The pre-made kit will make you look like a halfway legitimate gingerbread builder.

Safety first.

Reality: You will cheat death faster than you will cheat the gingerbread system.

Godspeed, everyone. May your gingerbread be plentiful and your frosting sticky. And if neither of those things happen, may they at least be so delicious that nobody cares.

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